Akron Art Museum

photo by Richman Haire

Akron, OH




Apocalyptic Giggles: The Industrial Cartoon Humor of Derf

Publicity Postcard for Exhibition

What is there to laugh about in a world run amok? Find out July 10 through October 24, 1999 at the Akron Art Museum's exhibition Apocalyptic Giggles: The Industrial Cartoon Humor of Derf. Cleveland-based artist Derf is one of the nation's leading alternative cartoonists whose comic strip, "The City," appears regularly in nearly 60 publications, including The Village Voice, The Chicago Reader and the Cleveland Free Times. Locally, Derf is well known for his cover illustration of the Akron Beacon Journal's Enjoy! and Sunday magazines.

"I have no background in art," said John Backderf, otherwise known as Derf, in a recent interview. He admits to getting a 'D' in art in high school because, "I drew too many cartoons and not enough real art...Great cartoonists are born, not made. I started cartooning at 5 years old. If you must cartoon, you will."

Derfs caustic cartoons, distinguished by his bracing wit and edgy rendering style, offer humorous insight into human behavior. His images have graced T-shirts, CD covers and appeared in The Wall Street Journal. This is Derf's first solo museum exhibition. It includes cartoon strips, drawings and posters, and offers a refreshing look into the mind of a successful cartoonist working outside the mainstream.

A free, full-color postcard featuring a cartoon image by Derf will accompany Apocalyptic Giggles. Learn more about Derfs art and unusual outlook on iife at an informal question and answer session, moderated by Akron Beacon Journal staff writer and Wheels of Fortune author David Giffels, on Sunday, September 26, 1999 at 2:30 p.m.

Read more about the Akron Art Museum in Resource Library Magazine.

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 1999 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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